UNITED NATIONS (AP) - "Britain, Japan, Australia and others are pushing for an unprecedented treaty regulating the arms trade worldwide, in a campaign sure to last years and to pit them against a determined American foe, the National Rifle Association.
In what U.N. officials say is an "overwhelming" response, almost 100 governments have submitted ideas for such a treaty, to be reviewed over the next year. There's an "extremely urgent" need for controls on the international gun trade, says Kenya, echoing the sentiment in much of guns-besieged Africa.
But in the U.S., the NRA says it sees a creeping attempt to limit civilian gun ownership within nations - even though the focus now is on setting standards for arms exports and imports.
The international issues "necessarily will come to involve at some point domestic laws and policies regarding firearms," said former congressman Bob Barr, a leading NRA voice on the subject.
"That's not what we're looking at here," countered Greg Puley, of the Control Arms coalition of pro-treaty advocacy groups. "The point is to control trade in weapons that contribute to conflict and atrocities."
The NRA and other U.S. gun lobbyists have helped blunt earlier efforts at the United Nations to rein in the weapons trade. Last December, the U.S. delegation cast the lone negative vote when 153 nations approved a General Assembly resolution initiating this new treaty process.
Now, alone among the world's top 10 arms suppliers, the United States - by far the biggest, with almost $13 billion in arms export agreements in 2005 - has not filed a requested report to the United Nations with its views on a treaty.
"The United States has not yet decided whether it will or will not participate in (the review), and thus we will have no submission at this time," Richard Kidd, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told The Associated Press.
The treaty campaign may encounter resistance beyond Washington as well. The reports from Russia and China, two other big arms exporters, offered only lukewarm endorsement for stricter controls.
"This is just the beginning of the process. There will be a lot said on the issue," noted Pamela Maponga, conventional arms chief in the U.N. Disarmament Affairs Office here.
Britain, a $3-billion-a-year arms exporter, has spearheaded the effort with a half-dozen co-sponsoring nations, saying unscrupulous traders capitalize on gaps and differences in various nations' export-import laws in order to ship assault rifles and other weapons into areas where they inflame conflict and oppression.
The United States and other industrialized countries generally keep close oversight on arms sales, but dozens of nations have no regulations specific to weapons exports and imports. Only 37 nations, for example, have laws governing the operations of private arms brokers."
Yadda yadda, blah blah, and triple blah. First of all I want to hear what the politicians running for office have to say about this. Lets ask the likes of RodHam, and Hussein, then do an about face and query those professing to be human beings such as Julie Annie, Fred Thompson, Romney, et al.
I only suggest to question the loons because I do so love seeing them squirm, but they're lying sacks of manure and who cares what they think anyway.
And as far as the United (Against America) Nations is concerned, who cares X 2. More restrictions abroad means more, and less expensive weapons available here, so knock yourselves out, you commies who've enslaved your "subjects". Shame that my retirement country of choice went belly-up regarding personal freedom, because I'd acquired a nice chunk of land in Australia and had plans to spend the golden years plinking at Roos, but thats water under the bridge and the good news is I won't ever be fooled again into believing that basic human rights exist ANYWHERE outside of the good old US of A.
The Dianification of Europe is a done deal, S.E. Asia is out of the question because it never DID profess a love for freedom, South America is the punchline to a very bad joke, Russia, China, Japan, you name it and there's a dictator in the woodpile. Thats the problem with having enough resources to be comfortable, but not enough fuck-you cash to do as you please like our politicians and celebrities who are granted rights far and beyond mere mortal men.
Arms "treaties" do just what Prohibition did. Enrich an underclass of criminals to the point whereby they can call the shots and oft times do. The guns will continue to flow, and as I've said, hopefully here where we can then have a larger selection to choose from.